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  • INVITATION

    TO LOVE

    By

    LEO A. CORMICAN, O.M.I.

  • Invitation to Love by Leo A. Cormican, O.M.I

    Nihil Obstat:Gerald E. Cousineau, O.M.I.Allan MacInnes, O.M.I

    Imprimi Potest:Joseph R. Birch, O.M.I.

    Superior Provincialis

    Imprimatur :Ottavae, die 2a Novembris, 1954,M. J. Lemieux, O.P.Archiepiscopus Ottaviensis..

    Originally printed by: Le Droit, Printers and Publishers, Ottawa, Canada

    Copyright Notice

    The contents Invitation to Love by Leo A. Cormican, O.M.I is in the public domain. However,this electronic version is scanned, formatted and copyrighted. www.basilica.org, 2010. AllRights Reserved.

    This electronic version may be distributed free of charge provided that the contents are notaltered and this copyright notice is included with the distributed copy, provided that thefollowing conditions are adhered to. This electronic document may not be offered, eitherelectronically or hardcopy, in connection with any other document, product, promotion or otheritem that is sold, exchange for compensation of any type or manner, or used as a gift forcontributions, including charitable contributions without the express consent ofwww.basilica.org. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

    www.basilica.orgwww.basilica.org

  • CONTENTS

    CHAPTER I God's Quest for Love - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6

    CHAPTER II Understanding Christ's Heart - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13

    The Word "Heart" in Scripture and Liturgy - - - 13

    Christ's Heart: Reality and Symbol - - - - - - - - - 16

    The Heart as the Bond of Sympathy - - - - - - - - 25

    Christ's Emotions and Ours - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 26

    CHAPTER III Practical Devotion to the Sacred Heart - - - - - - - 31

    Honouring the Incarnate God - - - - - - - - - - - - - 31

    Returning Love for Love - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 35

    Special Value of the Devotion Today - - - - - - - - 41

    CHAPTER IV The Promises of the Sacred Heart - - - - - - - - - - - 51

    The Biblical Promises - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 54

    The Our Father: Prayer and Promise - - - - - - - - - 56

    The Beatitudes: Blessing and Promise - - - - - - - - 57

    The Eucharist: Gift and Promise - - - - - - - - - - - - 63

    CHAPTER V The Reign of the Sacred Heart - - - - - - - - - - - - - 71

    Christ's Power as King - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 77

    Christ's Power as Lover - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 81

    Christ's Power as Saviour - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 84

    Our Incorporation into Christ the King - - - - - - - 93

  • Passages are quoted from the following papal encyclicals:

    The Sacred Heart (Miserentissimus)

    The Kingship of Christ (Quas Primas)

    The Liturgy (Mediator Dei)

    The Mystical Body of Christ (Mystici Corporis)

  • I

    GOD'S QUEST FOR LOVE

    Of all the lovers who have caught the imagination or stirred the hearts of men, thegreatest by far is Christ. No other has ever hungered so eagerly for love, nor found the road tothe heart of the beloved so beset with disappointments and obstacles. No lover has ever sufferedso much from human fickleness, coldness, disdain and infidelity. More than any other, He hasfound that "the course of true love never did run smooth." No one has ever been so patient, soresolute in the face of disappointments, so gentle, so forgiving in the midst of infidelities. Thelove story of Christ is unique, because the lovers in it are not remote figures who lived in adistant past, nor imaginary people who never lived at all, but the living Christ and our livingselves. The bride whose love He seeks to win is the human race. He seeks His beloved ardentlynot because her beauty draws Him powerfully to her, but because she is so ungainly andungracious that only He can give her lasting beauty and joy; she is so needy that only He hasriches enough to fill her heart.

    He desires neither a helpless slave nor a mercenary hireling, but a spouse who will giveherself to Him as He gives Himself to her- fully, freely, in the unbreakable bonds of marriage.He wishes to force nothing on her or from her, but seeks her ready, complete consent to thatunreserved intimacy which can grow only from mutual love. It is only by her wish that He canfill her with all the comeliness and grace He ardently seeks to bestow. His seeking must go on tothe end of the world; only then will the number of the elect be filled up, and His lovers presentthemselves to Him as a bride without spot or wrinkle or blemish (Ephs. V.27.); only then will thehunger of His Heart be satisfied.

    Human history is the period of Christ's courtship; until history has passed into eternity,He has the arduous, painful task of winning His bride. He is not hampered, as other men are, bythe limitations of time or space. In His search for lovers, He roams over the whole earth, and tothe end of time; He is with us all days, as lover no less than as king, to the consummation of theworld. By His church, His teaching, His grace, He seeks to draw every human heart to Himself.His bride-to-be little guesses how whole-heartedly she is loved and sought; she pays but littleattention to His pleadings or His promises. But neither rebuff nor rejection can weary Him. Forthe Eternal Father who entrusted Him with the quest for love has fitted Him perfectly for it. Hehas given His Son a patience that no unkindness can discourage, a tenderness which meets ourrejection with compassion rather than with anger, a Heart that meets our slightest response withgenerosity and ardour. That Heart enables Him now, as it did in the Passion, to surmount theworst that men can do to Him, and to go on seeking the love of men till time shall be no more.

  • As His great work is to plead for love, our great work is to respond. We are all, even thegreatest of us, limited and ineffective in many ways; but however weak we may be in mind orbody, there is one kind of genuine greatness we can all achievethe greatness of an ardent,unreserved love. The first person who grasped the intensity of Christ's appeal for love was HisMother; she became the greatest of God's creatures because she responded most perfectly to Hisappeal. True devotion to the Sacred Heart was first and best understood by her in whom Godtook a human heart to Himself. We should try to imitate Mary by 'pondering over God's words inour hearts' (Luke II. 19), so as to see how much He has loved us, and so be prompted to loveHim worthily in return. We should endeavour to understand the true nature of devotion to theSacred Heart.

    Understanding the Devotion

    Every true devotion is marked by two great characteristics: it finds its roots in soliddoctrine, it produces flowers of solid practice. It takes its rise in revealed truth, not inimagination or in sentimentality, and it leads on constantly to acts of virtue. To understand anydevotion properly, we must see divine doctrine as the motive and the guide for the devotion wepractise; it is useful then to collect in one place some of the main beliefs which lie at the root ofdevotion to the Sacred Heart.

    We must first remind ourselves of the unique and mysterious nature of any devotion tothe humanity of Christ. For when we think of doctrine, or teaching, we are inclined immediatelyto think of words, spoken or written. But the Word on which the devotion to the humanity isbased is neither spoken nor written, but is a divine Person who has always been with God, and isGod. Christianity is not primarily a matter of embracing a form of belief, of accepting aparticular doctrine; it is accepting or receiving a Person. "God, having spoken of old to thefathers through the prophets by many partial revelations and in various ways, in these last dayshath spoken to us by one who is Son. As many as received Him, He gave them power to becomethe sons of God." (Hebrews I.1; John I.12.) The Word of God, sent into the world in the likenessof sinful flesh (Romans VIII.3.), is God's supreme manifestation and revelation of Himself. TheIncarnate Word is the basis and the source of all true belief and of all salutary action. Devotion tothe Sacred Heart is a particular way of knowing, loving and imitating the Incarnate Word.Doctrine we need, words and ideas we need; but the ideas, the words and the doctrine are ofvalue only in so far as they bring us into living contact with the Person, the Divine Word. Wemust study not so much a belief, as a Person; we must love and imitate that Person, that Man,rather than merely exercise our intellects.

    The great ways in which the Incarnate Word enters into our daily lives may be put bybringing together the ideas of Saints John and Paul: He in whom the fullness of the Godheaddwells in a corporal manner, dwelt amongst us full of grace and truth, and of His fullness wehave all received; for from Moses we received the Law, but through Jesus Christ we received

  • grace and truth. (Col. II.9; John I.14,16,17.) Since Christ is "true God of true God, of oneSubstance with the Father" (the Nicene Creed), the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him, yet ina corporal manner because He has united humanity to His divinity, in order that He may manifestthe power and lovableness of divinity in a way accommodated to our weak humanunderstanding. Even as man, He is full of grace and truth, that is, full of the perfections whichmake Him eminently pleasing to God ("full of grace:); and He is "full of truth" because Heteaches men all they need to know in a way they can understand. Thereby Christ gives ussomething better than the Law which God gave to men through Moses; that is, Moses couldinstruct us on what our obligations are, but he could not usurp the function of Christ which is toimpart the inner strength and motivation whi